A healthy Myotis bat found hibernating in a woodpile. (C.Buick/Submitted)

A healthy Myotis bat found hibernating in a woodpile. (C.Buick/Submitted)

Okanagan bats at risk of contracting fungal disease

White-Nose Syndrome could lead to starvation

A fungal disease heading towards B.C. from Alberta and Washington is threatening the province’s Little Brown Bat population.

White-Nose Syndrome, which is harmless to human and pets, attacks bats while they are hibernating by attaching to their faces and giving the appearance of a white nose. This has led to the death of millions of bats from starvation.

The Okanagan Community Bat Program is asking residents to report any sick or dead bats found in the region before May 31.

The fungus was first detected in New York state in 2006, and has since continually spread west. Biologists now believe that its arrival in B.C. is imminent. There is not yet a proven cure, though experts say that an increase in the number of reports could help stop the spread.

If you find a dead bat, email at okanagan@bcbats.ca or call 1-855-922-2287 ext.13.

In the Okanagan region, the BC Community Bat Program partners with the Bat Education and Environmental Protection Society (Peachland), Environmental Education Centre Okanagan (Kelowna), Allan Brooks Nature Centre (Vernon), Osoyoos Desert Society (Osoyoos), BC Parks (Penticton), Grist Mill (Keremeos), The Nature Trust (Twin Lakes) and Granby Wilderness Society (Grand Forks).

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